Imagine the horror. You went to the gun club, sent some lead downrange at your favourite target, then stopped briefly for a bite to eat, a workout, a cup of coffee. Whatever.
When you come back to your car, fragments of your passenger window litter the pavement. The trunk lid floats in the air. You notice it rocking, ever so gently, in the evening breeze.
Your heart drops through the concrete sidewalk beneath your feet.
Someone just stole your handgun.
Two thoughts collide in your brain instantly.
“I have to call the police.”
“I’m going to prison.”
The first thought is automatic. It’s the right thing to do and, deep in your bones, you know it.
The second thought is pure fear. Every moment of your day, from the moment you left your house until you found your car violated will be scrutinized, second-guessed and torn apart.
You’ve seen this nightmare unfold before and the rules of engagement are simple – the gun owner always loses.
So your panicked brain, just for a millisecond, thinks you can find a way to avoid the inevitable.
And you know you can’t. So you pull your cell phone from your pocket and dial the three most terrifying numbers anyone can dial in these circumstances.
Then you wait.
You wait for police to arrive.
Every second feels like a year. Every minute, eternity.
It’s almost a relief when cops arrive, take your statement and gather evidence.
You can’t think beyond the answer to the officer’s last question. You don’t dare.
The only real question you have left is whether you will be taken to the police station handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser or escorted as you drive there yourself.
Two RCMP members found themselves in a similar position this week.
My heart goes out to both of them.
Two days in a row, media reports RCMP-issue handguns were stolen from unattended vehicles.
The first theft, reported in the media on March 11, 2019, said an off-duty RCMP officer reported his handgun stolen from his parked personal vehicle. They would not release details, but other news reports suggest the window of time is about two hours. They did confirm one pistol and three loaded magazines were stolen.
“It’s a double-edged sword, because, while the investigation is taking place as the officer being a victim for a theft, and the potential of charges for improper storage and handling, there is also an internal investigation that takes place for the conduct,” said former RCMP member Terry McKee.
In the second theft, reported by the media on March 13, 2019, the officer’s unmarked police cruiser was stolen, along with everything your average police cruiser contains – his badge, body armour, pepper spray, baton and handcuffs.
And his loaded, RCMP-issue Smith & Wesson pistol.
The on-duty RCMP member stopped at a gym for a workout. He was there less than 30 minutes, but that was long enough for a thief to steal his keys (and his entire gym bag) from a locker, before they stole his vehicle and everything in it.
Do I think these RCMP members should face criminal charges?
They didn’t do anything wrong, let alone criminal. Even if someone is shot with one of these stolen RCMP guns, the likelihood of a conviction for criminal negligence is extremely remote.
The thieves, on the other hand, toss the book at them. Post-conviction, toss away the key too.
What’s important now is finding these criminals and the guns they stole. If they’re willing to steal a cop’s gun, they’re probably willing to do far worse.
These two RCMP pistols are truly “on the street” and we need to get them off the street immediately.
And, if you’re so inclined, offer a prayer on behalf of both these RCMP members. Pray both guns are found, and found fast. Pray nobody is injured by the criminals who stole them, or by whoever the thieves sold the stolen guns.
And pray these criminals are arrested, charged, convicted and the full weight of the criminal justice system drops on their heads.
They earned it.